Content couldn’t be more important than it is now. In fact, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs a whopping 62% less.
And that’s not all: content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods. The most successful B2B marketers spend 40% of their total marketing budget on content marketing.
Content marketing has the ability to transform your business. High-quality content increases brand reputation by building trust, influences conversions, and improves SEO efforts while remaining cost-effective. But, above all, content solidifies your commitment to your audience by providing knowledgeable, quality content for their benefit.
In short, content is king.
But not all companies and entrepreneurs are maximizing their content efforts. In fact, 70% lack a consistent or integrated content strategy. But then there are those companies that are kicking butt and rising to the top. Here are 14 of my favorite companies (and people) doing content marketing right – and what you can learn from their efforts.
Drift, a conversational marketing platform, used its content marketing strategy to grow the number of visitors to its blog from 198 in October of 2015 to 27,369 in June of 2016 – just eight short months later.
Drift discovered that the grind to create content is well worth it, and that quality beats quantity every time. After updating their older blog content to be more thorough and of higher quality, Drift found 12% of their all-time traffic came from those posts. They started publishing less content but spent more time creating it after seeing that 76% of their total blog traffic came from just 20% of their posts.
Why It Works
Drift shifted their focus from creating content for their business to creating content for their audience. High-quality content isn’t just content that is edited ruthlessly. Instead, it’s content that offers value to the reader. Whether it’s through actionable advice, tips and tricks, or valuable information, content should be worth the reader’s time. Drift got it right, bringing in more traffic to their website overall.
Communicating more information about your business while engaging your audience is a sweet spot few have mastered. Note-taking app Evernote is well on the way, using their Customer Stories campaign to do all of this and more.
These stories showcase how individuals and businesses in various industries are using the platform in innovative ways. They place emphasis on the industry each company is in and the number of employees they have to relate to audience members in various niches.
Why It Works
Evernote’s Customer Stories is a personal content marketing strategy that tells a story while giving new users a look into how the platform is used. Instead of a lengthy how-to article or various case studies, Evernote combines storytelling with instruction. It’s engaging, relatable, and drives home Evernote’s core benefit: helping teams create and share work.
3. Grow and Convert
Sometimes, the content marketing world offers too much high-level content that is difficult to understand and not actionable for the audience. The trick is to combine content that communicates clearly with actionable advice your audience can use. Content marketing agency Grow and Convert is so focused on adding value that they don’t post often. However, their content managed to grow their blog to tens of thousands of monthly visitors in just six months – and it’s still growing.
(Grow and Convert)
Why It Works
Grow and Convert’s content cuts through the noise of the marketing world without the fluff. It’s highly-detailed and actionable, as opposed to typical marketing content that is way too advanced for practical use. Each piece of content that’s generated is of the highest quality and ensures the reader walks away knowing something new.
4. Zendesk’s Relate
Content design makes a huge difference when it comes to the user experience. Relate is Zendesk’s content hub, a collection of curated content straight from the company. It’s beautifully designed and combines all of the customer service software company’s content in one place.
Why It Works:
Not only is the content on Relate high-quality, but it’s located all in one place. Relate caters to audience members’ individual learning styles, whether they prefer reading, listening, or viewing. Articles, curated content, video, podcasts, and print options are all available in an easy-to-skim design. It’s a content lover’s dream.
5. John Deere
John Deere’s publication, The Furrow, is said to be one of the first examples of content marketing. First published in 1895, the publication’s goal was to help customers solve issues with John Deere products and show the company’s expertise. This is exactly the same goal that content should have today.
(John Deere’s The Furrow)
Why It Works
John Deere has stayed true to a strategy that works: adding consistent value. For more than 120 years, the publication has continued to help and inspire its readers and customers. The Furrow reaches a wide audience even today because of its readability and years of demonstrated knowledge and proven credibility.
Even some of the most well-known brands need to take advantage of what content marketing has to offer. Rolex is known for beautiful and timeless watches, but they’re also known for their high-quality photography. In fact, more than 10 million Instagram followers and 7 million Facebook followers enjoy their photos every single day.
Why It Works
Content isn’t just reserved for blog posts and sales pages. Rolex shows diversity by spending time curating and creating high-quality images that inspire and communicate their brand clearly. The images are eye-catching and tell a story. When it comes to content on social media, images often say more than words ever could.
This innovative mattress and pillow company is only five years old. It’s enjoyed huge success through its innovative online model, with huge celebrities like Kylie Jenner posting pictures of their new Casper mattresses to Instagram. In 2018, the company generated $400 million in revenue.
So how did Casper manage to get the world excited about mattresses?
The brand makes sure to follow content marketing best practices within its content in addition to using video to make an impact. The company has generated a following on YouTube, cultivating enthusiasm for its product unboxing videos.
Why It Works
Their website content is witty and straightforward, and their blog is easy to read and insightful. However, their use of YouTube is something to watch. Video is critical to content marketing, with one-third of online activity being spent watching video. Unboxing videos are fun to watch and give potential customers a little nudge to try it themselves. Each video acts as a referral of sorts, building brand awareness and trust.
8. Undertaking LA
If there’s any type of industry that’s difficult to market using content, it’s the funeral industry. The topics are often uncomfortable and far from interesting. But funeral director Caitlin Doughty of Undertaking LA has seen the bright side. Using surprisingly funny videos on her Ask a Mortician YouTube Channel, she adds a new level of quality content to an otherwise boring industry.
(Ask a Mortician YouTube Channel)
Why It Works
Doughty’s YouTube channel has over 850,000 subscribers and is steadily growing. The only way to market her non-traditional funeral home was to use non-traditional methods. Again, video is a huge marketing tool for generating quality content that’s engaging and educational. Doughty offers actionable advice and answers questions about mortuary in an entertaining way, giving her a competitive edge.
Content marketing is certainly appropriate for all industries, even those that are complex. In the cybersecurity world, security solution provider SecureWorks was met with a challenge: How could they stand out from the crowd in the competitive world of cybersecurity? By offering high-quality educational resources, of course. The company used content to engage customers in a new way and increased their conversions by more than 50%, closing sales with more than half of all new leads.
Why It Works
SecureWorks is using their know-how to create in-depth resources such as case studies, solutions briefs, videos, and more. These resources speak to the challenges and pain points of key decision makers, such as CEOs, within the cybersecurity space. The content they create is engaging, highly valuable, and insightful. It establishes them as a thought leader and an expert in their industry.
A decrease in sales in their UK business led cloud computing giant Salesforce to take note of increased competition in the CRM industry. They decided to change their content marketing strategy to boost business growth in search and paid traffic. Their method of attack included an entertaining educational video, the world’s first stop-motion slideshare, and a Prezi presentation showing a customer success story. As a result, they saw an 80% increase in web traffic, over 1,000 downloads of their customized ebook, and a 2,500% increase in traffic from social media.
(Salesforce’s Stop Motion SlideShare)
Why It Works
Audiences are looking for something innovative that will grab their attention. At the time, Salesforce took advantage of something that had never been done. The result was an enormous amount of growth. As a thought leader, Salesforce grasps the importance of high-quality content that stands out from the crowd. Lesson? It pays to be unique and innovative in your efforts.
11. Rip Curl
Using a unique method of storytelling mixed with industry knowledge, Rip Curl’s The Search is a publication dedicated to the surfing industry. The stories cover surfers searching for the best waves, and the surfing lifestyle. The content features amazing photography and stories told by the surfers themselves. The surf apparel company has attracted more than 120,000 YouTube subscribers and 2 million-plus Facebook followers.
(Rip Curl’s The Search)
Why It Works
Rip Curl’s content shows just how important it is to speak to an audience’s passions and desires. Made for surfers by surfers, the content showcases what it’s like to be a part of something bigger, building identity and community.
IBM knows the importance of building relationships. As Andrea Ames, Enterprise Content Strategist for IBM once said:
“You don’t get to advocacy unless customers feel like they have a relationship with you, your company … you’re not going to have someone write a blog post saying, ‘That was the best cookbook I ever read’ or ‘IBM software is the bomb’—you’re not going to get that level of advocacy unless you have a relationship.”
To underscore her statement, IBM does content right by offering their DeveloperWorks blog and even the world’s smallest movie to their audience.
(IBM’s DeveloperWorks Blog)
Why It Works
IBM knows they’re not in the most interesting or eye-catching of industries. So, they chose to make their content just that. Their blog is full of actionable tutorials, case studies, and interesting content for all, not just experts. And the world’s smallest movie? Who wouldn’t enjoy that?
13. General Electric
If we were playing word association and I said “influencer marketing,” you’d probably respond with something like “travel,” “fashion,” “coffee,” “yoga”… the list goes on. You probably wouldn’t say “wind turbines” or “jet engines.”
Yet General Electric leveraged the power of influencers to highlight some of its most cutting-edge projects and facilities.
With its #GEInstaWalk campaign, the energy company invited six Instagrammers and a bunch of fans to tour its facilities and share their experiences via social. They’d take lots of images and upload them using the campaign hashtag, providing followers with a unique behind-the-scenes look at General Electric.
The results were fantastic. Without having to shell out a single cent on paid ads, GE generated 200,000 social engagements, 3.5 million viewers and more than 3,000 new Instagram followers.
Why It Works
The #GEInstaWalk campaign proves that you don’t need to be a trendy lifestyle company to leverage the power of influencer marketing – you just need to find the right influencers.
By partnering with ultra-relevant Instagrammers – people like professional photographer Aaron Durand, who specializes in snapping pictures of passenger trains and locomotives – GE was able to promote its brand organically and authentically.
Packlane is an online printing company that provides custom packaging to businesses. If you’ve ever made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches using Father Time Bread, chances are you’ve opened a Packlane box before. Two things its packaging products and content have in common are great visuals and substance.
(Packlane’s Behind the Box)
Why It Works
Packlane’s socials capture the ideal unboxing experience in photos and are filled with curated images of beautifully designed packaging. Its blog, Behind the Box, provides high-quality, actionable articles that teach small-business owners how to leverage packaging to promote their brand. Packlane has also mastered the art of putting the spotlight on its customers’ stories by creating content that highlights the journey of small businesses.
Content marketing is more important than ever, and right now, the sky’s the limit. For the companies and individuals mentioned here, content is something they use to creatively connect with their audiences. If you’re not doing that yourself, you should be. So what are the top lessons to learn from these companies?
- You don’t have to be a marketing company or have a big budget to do content well. Stick to creating high-quality content that adds value. That’s what your audience craves above all else.
- Speak your customers’ language. What do they want to see? How do they want to see it? Give them what they’re looking for – or someone else will.
- Be authentic. Don’t latch onto a trend that doesn’t directly relate to your brand and values just to score some cheap engagement. Focus on themes to which you can add real value, and that are of genuine interest to your audience.
- Don’t be afraid to think beyond the blog. There is so much more out there you can offer besides blog posts, such as Casper’s unboxing videos or Zendesk Relate’s curation concept. Be creative and innovative to keep a competitive edge.
What content marketing methods resonate with you the most? What companies are on your favorites list? Leave a comment below – I’d love to check them out.